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Fast Facts:

All weekday gatherings and activities at St. John the Divine are cancelled until further notice - this includes mid-week services and the Victoria Baroque concert scheduled for Saturday, March 21.  

The Food Bank is continuing to operate at this time, but modifications have been made to assist with meeting Dr. Henry's guidance. 

The Out of the Rain Shelter has been moved to Elford Street for all nights.

Sunday worship services will continue at 8:00 AM and 10:00 AM but follow social distancing and other precautionary measures as described in detail below.    

There will be no common cup at worship, no touching during passing of the peace or the offertory, no laying-on-of-hands, and no coffee hour following the service.   

Please practice responsible self-care. Many members of St. John’s would be considered “vulnerable” to COVID-19, either because of age or other personal health considerations. Please stay home if you are not feeling well, or if it is in your best interests to avoid risk to exposure. We love you and want to keep you, and all of us, safe and healthy.   

We are working with the leaders of the Food Bank and the Out of the Rain Youth Shelter to maintain our commitment and support of those who live on the margins or are otherwise socially vulnerable.    

We want to stay connected during this anxious and stressful time and are working on ways to support one another through this temporary period of “social distancing.” Please do not hesitate to let us know if you are in pastoral need, in quarantine or have contracted the virus.   

We will be making updates via email, postings at the church, and on our social media platforms as developments occur. The situation is fluid and we will strive to communicate the accurate information to you as quickly as possible. 

A message from The Reverend Canon Kevin Arndt, Priest-in-Charge:

Dear friends,    

I know this is a stressful time for all of us. We worry about our loved ones, our own health, and those who need the support and services of the church. The uncertainty surrounding the spread and effects of COVID-19 creates significant anxiety.    

I want to assure you that we are following the scientific expertise of health care professionals and their best advice and best practices. Through this challenging time, St. John’s will continue to do what we do best – further the common social good, take sacred care of each other, and serve Christ faithfully by our talents, time and treasure.    

On March 11, the diocese participated in a consultation with Premier John Horgan, Health Minister Adrian Dix and Dr. Bonnie Henry, Provincial Officer of Health regarding the role our churches can play in preventing the further transmission of COVID-19, the virus behind the current global pandemic, and ensure best practices to keep our worshipers safe and healthy.    

Dr. Henry did not go so far as request we cease gathering for Sunday worship, but as the situation continues to unfold, we may be asked to do so in the future. We will keep you informed by email and updates on St. John’s social media platforms as developments occur.   

In addition to the precautionary measures for Sunday worship, the Wardens and leadership team at St. John’s has made the difficult decision to suspend all weekday church activities and groups until further notice. We understand this will cause some disappointment, but we believe it is in everyone’s best interest and will further our common goal to minimize the spread of COVID-19.   

Concerning Sunday morning worship, St. John’s will immediately implement the temporary precautionary  measures directed by Dr. Henry. They are listed below and in the communication from the Bishop’s Office entitled COVID-19 What Parishes need to Know.

If you have questions, concerns or ideas, please do not hesitate to contact the Wardens, clergy or any staff of St. John the Divine.    


The Reverend Canon Kevin Arndt
Priest-in-Charge, St. John the Divine 

Dr. Henry's key requests for immediate implementation include:  

1. Encourage social distancing 

  • If you feel the slightest bit unwell or have underlying health issues stay home. 
  • Do not gather in groups unless necessary. 
  • If you gather, maintain a safe (two arms lengths) distance between one another at all times. 
  • No hugging, kissing or shaking hands. 

2. Do not share food 

  • Do not share the common cup and if sharing Eucharistic bread, ensure there is no hand-to-hand contact. 
  • Do not share food unless served in individually packaged containers using FOODSAFE standards. 
  • This includes discontinuing coffee time after worship until further notice. 

3. Practice proper hygiene & increase cleaning efforts 

  • Frequently wash your hands with soap and warm water (for at least 20 seconds).  
  • Do not touch your face.
  • Sneeze or cough into your sleeve or tissue, not your hands. 
  • Wipe all common surfaces (tables, railings, pews, chairs, books) with regular cleaning products often and between gatherings.
  • Remove water from fonts and stoups.  

Health officials also encouraged faith groups to consider the following: 

  • Find ways to maintain connections without people feeling the need to gather. For example, offer virtual gatherings using livestreaming and social media to connect to parishioners who feel the need to stay home. Use telephone trees to update people and to check-in regularly. 
  • Offer social services to support those needing to stay home. For example, deliver groceries and other necessities to the door of those who are self-isolating.